Hello and welcome to this latest edition of the Madness Information Service newsletter.
Back in our 1,000th issue we ran a competition to win one of Lee Thompson’s vintage Madness T-shirt Stash. Well, we can now congratulate Gary Brownjohn of Essex. Your T-shirt will be in the post, Gary.
The competition involved sending in your most memorable Madness gig story. Here is Gary’s…
“My most memorable concert for me would be the Dangermen gigs at the Dublin Castle.
I went with a guy I used to work with called Nick. He claimed to once be mates with Clive Langer’s son and he reckoned he had loads of Madness memorabilia from Clive that he had in a lockup that he just forgot about, meaning he lost the lot, although I was never sure he was telling the truth.
Anyway, I went to the gig with him and he gave me the usual tour of Camden and we eventually made our way to the DC and stood right where the boys had to make their way through the crowds exactly where we were standing.
I’ll never forget being so close to them all. The gig was amazing, but better yet, afterwards in the bar, we bump into non-other than Clive Langer himself who recognised Nick straight away and bought us both a drink.
We chatted for quite a while but I had to leave fairly early to catch the last train, however, Nick was lucky enough to be able to stay behind and meet most of the band too, I was long gone by then!
Congratulations Gary, and a very big thank you to everyone who took the time and effort to take part.
1st – Suggs & Friends – Porchester Hall, London. Annual Charity show for Pancreatic Cancer UK
2nd Kings Lynn, Corn Exchange
3rd Crawley, The Hawk Theatre
4th Bury St Edmunds, Apex
5th Stafford, Gatehouse Theatre
7th Glasgow, Pavillion – rescheduled date
Lee Thompson in Conversation
Sunday November 11th – The Big One 7 – Parkdean Sandford Dorset
“Meet the Legendary Sax man” at this QnA musical career discussion event.
Saturday 22nd December, The Dublin Castle, Camden. No Lee, as this is the date of the Brighton Madness gig.
Suggs My Life Story DVD
“After a bit of messing about…”, says the new advert for Suggs Movie DVD of his One Man Show, which now has a new release date of November 2018. This opening line is the admission that a delayed March release, a lack of updates before August 10th, and a rejig of both the pledge campaign account and the team behind the release have all taken place.
Now that the Pledge is relaunched though with a new release date of November, and with a fresh launch event to take place at the Pleasance Theatre in London we feel that now is the time to add this back in to our regular “Buy It” section.
Lee ‘Kix’ Thompson is a most unlikely character. Early career choices had him spend a year in Borstal. He still hasn’t found the receipt for his first saxophone. Luckily, he met two other unlikely characters: Mike ‘Barso’ Barson and ‘Chrissy Boy’ Foreman, who shared his interests of graffiti, train hopping and music.
One Man’s Madness, a feature length rocku-docu-mockumentary directed by Jeff Baynes, tells the story of Madness saxophonist Lee Thompson, told by Lee and his fellow Madness band mates, his family, friends and musicologists, who strangely all look a little like him! From meeting Barso and Chrissy Boy, and later Suggs, Chas, Woody and Bedders, to becoming one of Britain’s most iconic and successful bands, this joyous and light-hearted film follows the path of Lee’s life through his lyrics and songs, including such Madness classics as The Prince, Embarrassment, House Of Fun, Lovestruck and NW5.
Two CD set. Original soundtrack to the 2018 documentary about Madness saxophonist Lee Thompson. Includes tracks from Madness, Crunch, ‘Thommosina Leigh’, Ian Dury, and the Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra. Including Hidden Tracks. New Mad store T-shirts & Madshorts
Further New T-shirts are now in stock for the summer. Including Madness Shorts as this hot weather continues to encourage getting your legs out. The recent Stately Holmes tour T-shirt is now in stock on line. A rather fetching Lady Killers poster of the old Ealing comedy about a gang of roguish bank robbers, re done with Madness heads taken from old shut up artwork and repurposed nicely in this fitting parody. A fetching Morris Minor car picture harking back to Driving in My Car video and the Mad 7 number plate, with the paraphrase lyrics from Muswell Hill to Selsey Bill! Check out the Madstore now.
Danceable and delightful, this debut album of the band’s much loved original songs pushes on through, breaking the mould of standard ska cover band. Catchy tunes and powerful brass and rhythm section make this a must-listen. Featuring Lee Thompson.
I Remember Way Back When
This week, MIS co-editor Rob Hazelby goes back in time to report on what was going on in the world of Madness 5 years, 10 and 15 years ago this week.
5 years ago…
Issue Number: 752 – Sunday 6th October to Saturday 12th October 2013
Last week we promised that this issue would feature extensive coverage of last weekend’s Alexandra Palace gig, and a number of readers have not let us down. For those of you unable to get there or for those of you who’d polished off too many bottles of Gladness, we had some fantastic write-ups of the weekend for you.
In our Showtimes section we had two additions in the form of Suggs “That Close” book signings. Mr McPherson was booked for a signing at Waterstones, Picadilly on the 31st October, and at Newham Bookshop, Stratford on the 10th November.
Moving on, and in Kickstarter news we were pleased to announced that the campaign to help The Blockheads fund three music videos as part of their forthcoming new album and single releases had been a success. The band and their fans broker through their £10,000 goal, arching a mammoth £14,259!
The majority of this issue was filled with the aforementioned Alexandra Palace gig overview, which spilled into a review of the entire weekend thanks to the typing efforts of Jonathan Young and the videos courtesy of Sharon Staite. If you wanted to relive the weekend or find out what you’d missed then this was an excellent starting point.
If you wanted more then you simply had to scroll on to our Live and Intensified section for fan reviews of the Ally Pally gig and weekend. Our thanks went to Daren West and Sally Zybert for their efforts in putting these reviews together.
Our Sign of the Times and Tweets of a Dove sections contained a variety of content, but the most interesting and heartwarming was from the Woodgate brothers who were commenting on feedback received from their recent appearance on BBC1’s The One Show, where they spoke about mental health.
We brought this issue to an end with a non Madness related note, informing readers that following in the footsteps of Sound of the 60s and Sounds of the 70s, BBC Radio 2 began airing a weekly show entitled Sounds of the 80s. We had a feeling that Madness would be featuring regularly on this programme.
10 years ago…
Issue 492 – Sunday 5th October to Saturday 11th October 2008
We knew fans were impatient for news of the new album. Many were quite rightly excited after Hackney or weary of the wait since NW5 or when the news of an album first appeared. All we could say about the forthcoming Folgate was that as soon as any news became concrete we were certain that all the Madness websites and the MIS would be telling you in emails and large fonts, all about it.
In answer to a fan’s question on the Madness.co.uk message board last week, about whether it was at the stage of looking at the business end of how to release, or at the mixing and production stage, Chrissy Boy replied with ‘correct on all three counts’.
Somebody asked for a rough estimation of when he thought the album would be out, and Chris said something like; ‘it’s been nearly 10 years since we released our last album, so just hold on a bit longer, mate. It’s funny, you wait a whole decade for one album, then three of them come at once.’
We suggested that you made of that what you will, but to not instantly think it meant a triple album out next month though.
On to the articles, and we kicked things off with a transcript of an interview with Boz Boorer, which originally appeared on the Madness Trading Ring. Boz talke about his work with Cathal and The Velvet Ghost project, how he picked his nickname, The Polecats, and much, much more.
Boz’s new album “Miss Pearl” was due to hit the shelves on the 22nd of September (UK) and the 30th of September (USA).
Next, it was over to Carlisle United who had been working with Carl on a re-recording of One Step Beyond. Carl would now great players with “HEY YOU, DON’T WATCH THAT, WATCH THIS – CARLISLE UNITED AT BRUNTON PARK,” just before the main tune kicks in. Management were sure that it was going to be a huge hit with the fans.
Moving on, and we went off the subject of Madness just briefly, to give you a heads-up on a new book that had just been released. “Remember The 80s, That’s what I Call Nostalgia”, was a 176-page hardback book in full colour featuring news, fashions, entertainment, music, politics and people of the 80s.
The book covereds all aspects of the Eighties, from interviews with Midge Ure and Blue Peter’s Peter Duncan, to Trivial Pursuit and The ZX Spectrum. One to add to the Christmas wish list perhaps?
Elsewhere it was competition time as the MIS had managed to bag an extra copy of the Dance Brigade CD, which was made available at their recent debut gig. All you had to do to be in with a chance of winning was to send in your email address and cross your fingers. Easy!
With Lee Thomson reaching 51, Vince Carden put together a wonderful article wishing the great man a happy birthday, and summing up what Lee means to him. Five years on it’s still a fantastic read.
We brought this issue to a close with a heads-up announcing that the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain had now covered the classic Ian Dury track “Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll”.
15 years ago…
Issue 230 – Sunday 5th October to Saturday 11th October 2003
It was a case of the big swap for this issue, as no sooner was Jonathan back in the driving seat, following his weekend away in Great Yarmouth, Rob was off down to Torquay to celebrate his birthday in a rather drunken fashion.
Continuing his work with his RGR label, one Carl Smyth announced that his first signing, Just Jack, would be performing at Camden’s Jazz Cafe, with tickets costing a very reasonable £12.
Moving on to more amusing things, and through the grape vine we discovered that Madness tribute outfit had a bit of a surprise. Making a bit of a balls-up with his holiday dates, the band’s drummer went and booked himself on a holiday. This meant that the band were without a drummer for a forthcoming gig.
Thankfully, an earlier meeting with Woody had seen the Madness drummer offer his services whenever the band needed it. This was one of those times.
Here’s Steve Turner;
“Having booked the gigs over 12 weeks I made a mistake on the dates and allowed our drummer to book his holiday on the wrong dates, therefore leaving us without a drummer. So I phoned round our usual dep – Steve Rooney from One Step Below only to find out that he was on tour with another band. Thinking we could come unstuck here I remembered when I played in Guilford with Madness that Woody had asked to play with us whenever we needed him (as he loves playing and Madness obviously don’t gig that much!) So I phoned him and he agreed.
The day arrived and we met him in Selsey…fantastic so far. On showing him a set list he told us that he hadn’t played Mummy’s Boy, In The Middle Of The Night or Believe Me for years, and he had never played Cardiac Arrest live!! so we had a long sound check. Luckily we had Brendon from One Step Below on keys who pretty much held it together with our bass player John.
Great gig albeit probably smaller than Woody is used to. He was excellent and a few Madness fans in the crowd were obviously over the moon to see him there. The gig went very well and Woody said that it was the first gig in ages that he was paid on the night – even though it was probably slightly less than he was used to.”
We found out that it wasn’t just Woody who would be taking to the stage without the rest of the band, as news came in revealing that Lee Thompson would be taking the role of Fagin in a stage show of Charles Dickens’ “Oliver” – all in aid of charity, of course! Lee would be appearing in two performances. One at Jackson’s Lane, Highgate, on October the 22nd, and then a few days later on the 26th, at The OId Bull. Tickets cost a mere £10.
With the Great Yarmouth Madness Weekender already a distant but hazy memory, it came down to one Jonathan Young to attempt to fill in the gaps with an absolutely massive lowdown of just what went on, complete with links to photos and video clips. If you were too drunk to remember what happened, or you simply weren’t able to make it, then this was for you. Jon’s report was actually so detailed, that it had to be split into multiple articles, each describing a different aspect of the weekend.
Sign of the Times
What’s On: Madness front man Suggs makes Shrewsbury return
(Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury, Oct 15)
A LIFE in the realm of Madness…
Because of huge popular demand, after his first tour-de-force, smash hit, sell out tour, My Life Story, Suggs is treading the boards again with a brand new show.
Things have gone a smidge surreal since the Madness frontman was a twelve year old in shorts on the tough streets of North London. Constantly expecting that inevitable tap on the shoulder to hear ‘what are you doing here, Sunshine?’ How has he got this far? In this business you can be washed up at any minute. How has he managed to get away with it for so long?
Vertigo on the roof of Buckingham Palace, nearly blowing the closing ceremony of the Olympics , the embarrassing stuff that happened at Glastonbury. Fame is a tightrope and Suggs has fallen off many times.
With help from Deano his trusty pianist, he tells his story in words and music with the help of some Madness classics and a couple more what he wrote all on himself.
I am now going under the name of ” Thought For Naught ”
I’ve been recording an album but didn’t want to use Nick Woodgate when I put this out as I don’t like my own name, so I thought of “Thought For Naught” which comes from a Gong album track on the ‘You’ album called Thoughts For Naught.
All the best,
Nick Woodgate X”
Under this new name and on his new website you will find a link to a selection of remixed songs from Nick’s LP realised earlier this year “With a Word” . The Word Sped Up EP contains six faster new mixes of tracks from that album.
Nick also tells us that there’s to be a second Magic Brothers album coming in the future. We can now mention this as Woody has been talking about this on recent podcasts, which Nick tells us he enjoyed listening to.
Live and Intensified
Skapones With Lynval Golding @ The Donkey
Fairly local to here in the Midlands I head over to meet Paul Willo at The Donkey, a fun venue in Leicester not too far, but a few streets from the town centre.
A large 2Tone record label mural adorns the wall outside the pub which is a medium sized venue inside with a prominent stage for music at one end of the pub. Clearly then this side of Camden and Coventry and far south from the Skapones home of Darlington, this is the in place to be in this particular town that is without that much homegrown music heritage to speak of.
Its’s quickly becomes obvious that the owner who greets me when I arrive is a music fan to his bones and he tells me it’s going to be a good turn out, as he often put on ska gigs here. It’s his music of choice, and while a venue has to branch wide and commercial etc, it’s the ska related gigs and 2tone music he adores staging. Great then that tonight, or rather this afternoon, a legend and a few more followers of 2tone will all be in attendance.
The Skapones confidentially present their debut self penned album “Cradle to Grave” to a packed out pub, though mostly seated, some family members and dedicated followers like myself and Mick Jenner can be seen making a shape or two or tapping a toe. Rachel Smith, who we know from the house of fun, this is her local and she fills me in on some of the great nights of music had here at this venue clearly cherished by the locals, one of whom guests with the band tonight on Sax. Some fun banter comes before tunes from Paul, and the songs ape the mode of their hero’s numbers about social concerns and personal politics mixed with beats and up tempo delivery.
Some of The Specials brass section join in during part two when The Skapones air more familiar hit music and album tracks by The specials, to a more welcoming dance floor thats now packed.
Lynval Golding makes his way to the stage for their rendition of a Message to you Rudy. Giving a passionate speech first about both the reformation of the specials 10 years ago and fans that supported them then and do now, and the current true rumours of next years new LP. They are now signed to a major record label. His mouth organ intro starts the song twice (after a false start) and in the middle he calls for a hushed drop down of the drums and plays a riff that he has written for the new album recently, for the first time live, before they all return to the song as known and finish it off to the biggest applause of a fun afternoon of ska.
Paul tell’s us… “I had the privilege of hearing tracks from the new Specials album. Imagine what the natural follow up from More Specials would be, update it to 2018 then BOOM!!!!.Remember the anticipation of waiting for a new release when you were younger? OH MY GOD. You are gonna love it.”
We wished Lynval luck with it all from all at MIS, “it’s dropping 2019” he smiled.
Lynval Golding with The Skapones (Message to you Rudy)
Later this month The Tremolites play the Dublin Castle. Their album “T-one” is available now. Darren Dixon tells us it’s mint ska and it’s available via Facebook by messaging ex-LTSO guitarist Andy Neal. The Tracklisting is…
Tears of Joy
I’ll be your dog
When the rain comes down
Always find me more
Can’t Get up.
Lee Thompson is due to guest with them at The Dublin Castle on October 27th. Tickets can be purchased from the Vinyl Boutique Camden.